I have always been pretty self-reliant putting little importance on many relationships. That all changed with the birth of my first child and daughter. I can now proudly say I understand the unconditional love and protectiveness that has driven many an action movie father to beat, maim, or otherwise destroy any threat that stands between him and the safety of his daughter.
So, in honor of my first Father’s Day, here is my list of the Top 5 Daddy-Daughter Action Movies. Ever. Be warned, there will be blood. And spoilers.
Although not the actual father, there is no denying the bond created between Creasy, an ex-CIA operative, turned child bodyguard, with nothing to live for, and Pita, the precocious but inquisitive nine-year-old that provides purpose and companionship. After Pita is taken by Mexican kidnappers and assumed killed, it’s no shock when Creasy becomes set on revenge, leveraging his CIA past and nothing to live for attitude, to kill all involved. After uncovering a trail of corruption that leads back to the very home he was hired to protect, Creasy discovers Pita still lives and makes the ultimate sacrifice to bring her home safe. If that isn’t fatherly love then I don’t know what is. Good on you, Creasy, good on you.
The bad luck continues for our favorite, wrong place, wrong time, cop, John McClane. After already saving his wife and a building full of people, his wife again and a plane full of passengers, and a random black guy with most of New York and a pile of gold, this fourth installment leaves our hero with an ungrateful, estranged family and stuck right in the middle of an evil computer hacker’s devious scheme. Of course it’s no problem for McClane to step up and stop the bad guys, it become personal when his mouthy, but able to take care of herself, daughter is kidnapped, leaving John with only one option: Go kill this guy and get his daughter, or go get his daughter and kill this guy, or kill all of em. Yippee ki-yay, dad!
Family man and secret spy, Harry Tasker can foil any terrorist plot and still be home in time for dinner. Everything is business as usual until Harry’s wife, Helen, is seduced by her own adventure that leads her right into a world she wasn’t expecting. While attempting to give his wife what she’s been missing and saving the world from a Palestinian terrorism group, the Crimson Jihad, set on detonating a nuclear device, Harry is blind-sided to find out that his daughter has been kidnapped by the leader of the Crimson Jihad, Aziz. With no alternatives, Tasker is forced to commandeer a Harrier, stop the detonation of a second nuclear weapon, and kill the remaining terrorists by blowing up their helicopter up with a Sidewinder missile that just happens to be holding their precariously dangling leader. Boom. Harry regains the admiration of his once bitchy teenage daughter and enlists the assistance of his totally unqualified, untrained wife to participate in ongoing covert missions. What can I say, a family that battles terrorists together, stays together.
2. Taken (2008)
CIA operative, Brian Mills, decides that after a long career of defending U.S. freedoms, it’s finally time to have a closer relationship with his 17-year old daughter by retiring, moving closer, and of course picking up some side work as a celebrity pop-singer’s bodyguard. After all attempts to reconnect with his daughter fall a little flat and against his better CIA judgement, he is suckered into agreeing to let her travel abroad with a friend. About thirty seconds into their trip the girls are kidnapped, drugged, and prepared for sale into sexual slavery, requiring Brian to use his “unique skills” to get his daughter back. Brian proves his most unique skill is doing exactly what he says with zero punch lines. The Armenian human trafficking ring behind this act prove no match and he safely returns his, never questioning dad again, daughter back home. If saving his daughter from a life of overseas prostitution wasn’t enough, Brian does her one better by coordinating singing lessons for his daughter by pop-star, Sheerah, who he also just happened to save earlier as well. Daddy knows best, so no sass-mouth.
Single father and retired Delta Force Colonel, John Matrix, has only one mission left, provide a safe and happy home for his young daughter Jenny. Matrix’s life is turned upside-down when his home is attacked by a team of mercenaries, who after a bloody fight, overpower him and kidnap his daughter. It is later revealed that Matrix has been tasked with carrying out a political assassination for South American dictator, Arius, or else his daughter will be killed. Matrix agrees to go along with the plan until he doesn’t. With an 11-hour window to save his daughter, Matrix kills his inflight guard and escapes from a plane that has just taken off with a “small” leap. Free, Matrix then embarks on a no-lose mission that includes “enlisting” the help of an off-duty flight attendant, wreaking havoc at a local mall, killing two of Arius’s men, learning the location of his daughter, breaking into a military surplus store that just happens to house every weapon a former special forces operative could wish for, escape from arrest, stealing a plane, and finally sneaking into Arius’ island hideout. Armed and driven by the love of his daughter, Matrix single-handedly storms the island leaving a trail of carnage and destruction all the way to Arius’ villa. Once inside, Matrix kills the evil dictator and chases down his former team member, Bennet, who is now in possession of his daughter. Both highly-skilled and military trained, the two enter into hand-to-hand combat resulting in Bennet’s ultimate demise with a steam pipe jammed expertly through his torso. Having killed everyone and saved his daughter, Matrix walks away from the burning remains only to be greeted by a U.S. military force that has just missed all the action. Asked one final time to rejoin his Special Forces Unit, Matrix politely declines, boards the stolen plane, and flies away with his daughter and new lady friend. He won’t be back.
As ridiculous as these movies are, there is nothing ridiculous about a fathers love for his daughter. Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there ready and willing to crack some skulls for your daughter’s safety and happiness at a moments notice.